Previous Sail Jellyfish
9 of 17 from Learn To Photograph Tide Pools
32 of 36 from Port Renfrew
Next

mainimage
Velella velella (Sail Jellyfish, By-the-wind sailor)

These were washed up in great numbers (>100) in some places.

I have just returned from a fishing trip in Ireland where we fished the surf for Bass at St Finans/Finians Bay Kerry. I saw hundreds of sail jellyfish on the surf - amazing creatures - travelling almost too fast to catch in the hand. Even when turned over by a wave they would soon right themselves and carry on. Some even appeared to turn themselves around to steer away from the shore, perhaps by dropping some of the frill of tentacles beneath to cause resistance while the wind pushed the opposite end around. The strong wind and current coupled with weed in the tide made fishing very difficult but these colourful little jellies made my day. AL.
Alan Lewthwaite
Sunday, October 15th, 2006 at 13:11:58

Interesting shot. I just returned for a few days at Pacifica, CA, USA, where indeed hundreds were on the beach. According to one local, it happens about twice a year. I had seen them once before. Went on the computer to see if I could identify, and found this - exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. My shots are all on the beach.
Richard McCall
Sunday, May 6th, 2007 at 09:23:40

I saw these recently in Pacifica, CA too, thousands of them washed ashore one morning in May 2007. That afternoon they looked like dried leaves. But the curious thing was that there were all these dead ladybugs near them in the morning. I wondered if the ladybugs were attracted to the velelle, and then got stung and died. I have no idea, but that was my guess. I wasn't sure why so many velelle had washed ashore. it was a pretty amazing sight.
Jennifer
Thursday, May 17th, 2007 at 21:43:34

Me and my father saw them on the west coast of vancouver island, Canada 20miles off shore of nootka island, 5miles from Banjo reef. There where hundreds of them and at firt we thought that it was flower petals floating. It was a windy day about 25-35mile an hour winds and then floated like minnie sail boats. Ive have seen many things on the west coast but nothing ever like this. This was about August 20 2007
Tanis
Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 19:20:01

We saw these little creatures recently in Bandon, Oregon on the beach. They had washed up after the storms. My kids loved looking at them on the sand, but I bet they are more beautiful swimming live.
Michelle
Sunday, January 6th, 2008 at 15:58:02

I recently went to Pacifica and found three jellyfish that I assumed to be sail jellyfish. However, the ones that I found did not have the blue along the bottom. I was planning on doing a report about these jellyfish, yet I do not know for certain if they are sail jellyfish. Were the ones that I found female sail jellyfish, or a completely different species?
Alex Asay
Thursday, July 17th, 2008 at 08:44:22

I saw these scattered all over the beach a mile from where I live. The ones I found were completly clear with barley any blue they do not sting as far as I know and have almost identical patterns.
alli
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 17:30:26

OMG, I've been trying to figure out what those are since I saw them on Muir Beach, CA in 2003!
SushiGirl
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 at 20:27:44

20/5/09 - have just seen many thousands on Pendower Beach, Cornwall.
Phil Wallace
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 12:05:45

Kayaking around the coast and encountered thousands of these in the water between Seaton and Looe in Cornwall today (23/05/09). A fantastic sight - they look like bubbles on the water until you get close enough to see the sails - and such a beautiful colour.
Rebecca
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 at 12:35:49

I have just seen hundreds at the sea edge on the Mediterranean beach in the Costa Blanca. Never seen them before in 20-some years of walking that beach. Mildred
Mildred
Sunday, May 24th, 2009 at 13:31:47

We have just returned from Majorca where we saw hundreds of these on the sea near cala d'or. We were swimming away and all of a sudden there were hundreds of them bobbing along-we had no idea what they were!
joy
Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 03:23:43

Glad to have found this site. Sailing between Menorca and Sardinia on the 10th -12th June 2009 we encountered a continuous carpet of these mysterious creatures. We have never seen anything like it before. The density was about 10 or more per square metre. Not knowing what they were thought they could be an alien attack! Do they sting and who eats them?
Jinti
Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 14:02:14

Today we saw a few hundred or so scattered all up and down the beach at Channel Islands Beach in Oxnard. We tossed a great many back in the water after checking them out in our beach pails. Thanks for telling us what they were!
Dave
Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 21:59:15

Alan Lewthwaite, did you used to fish with my dad - John Redfern- if so could you contact me please on nurse65 @ google mail .com please, thanks
Sandra
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 14:21:50

we have just returned from the south of scotland, a place called port logan on arival on the 15th august 2009, we found hundreds of these jelly fish on the beach along with larger cousins. We also had never seen them before. We have been told that it is a rare occasion. so feel very lucky to have seen them. angie
angela scales
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 03:41:51

Sailing in March from the Bahamas to Miami and saw hundreds of them sailing along in the Straits of Florida. I watched them right themselves after being rolled over and they seem to be filled with a blue liquid. Interesting.
Dave
Sunday, April 11th, 2010 at 16:50:20

Wow! I saw some of these during spring break in early april at cocoa beach florida! I'm so glad I know what they are now, because I didn't really wan't to go in the water if they were poisonous. I saw many along the shore but none in the water, alive at least. From what it sounds like, these jellies are harmless. Hey guess what? I am only 11 years old. Anyway, I was curious and kept trying to find out what they were online, and finally I typed in sail jellyfish because it looked like they had sails, and it worked. Thanks!
Anna
Friday, July 2nd, 2010 at 18:14:22

I was reading a book about people exploring on the beaches of Mexico and they saw jellyfish. This reminded me of a fishing trip to the Revilla Gigedos Islands, Mexico in June, 2007 (these islands are very remote, being 400 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico). We were tuna fishing off Clarion Island and saw these "Sail Jellyfish" by the thousands. Someone above had it about right, 10 per square meter. They were fascinating to watch as they moved with the speed of the wind. Fascinating.
Ralph Cox
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 21:43:02

Went for a boat ride off the coast of Gran Canaria a few weeks ago and saw these but wasn't sure what I had seen.

Just been for a walk on the beach in Oliva, Spain and saw hundreds of them washed up the beach.

Never seen them before.

Trevor
Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 11:18:37

I encountered a countless mess of these in the Mediterranean right off the beach in Salou Spain.
Kain
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 16:31:05

What amazing little jellyfish, we found just 3 today on Shell Island Beach in North Wales UK, and wondered what on earth they were. Good old Google, where would the world be with out you. All the info, texts, photos, and now we know all about them! still amazed at the perfect little things, coloured such incredible shades of iridescent blue.
Sally Aspin August 12th 2011
Sally Aspin
Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 10:15:14

I just got back from Florence Oregon the coast and beach line was packed with them. I was hoping that they would get washed back too see and hopefully survive.... Thank u for explaining them to me I was very cautious when they first appeared to me, kinda scared in fact.
Jessy
Friday, July 4th, 2014 at 10:26:12

Hundreds of these were washed up at Gold Beach, Oregon after a storm today, 7/23/2014. My dog ate several of them before I could stop him. He seems fine. I was glad to read that they are harmless. What beautiful little jellyfish. They definitely look like "sails" so you can see how they got their name.
Patty
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 16:01:43

August 04, 2014: Just stumbled on thousands of these washing-up on the very sandy shores of Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park (West coast of Vancouver Island, Canada). Fascinating creatures that we had never seen previously nor had ever heard of them showing-up in this location before. They were also accompanied by sporadic globules of some other form of clear gelatinous formation, most about the size of a large marble or agate. Glad to have found this site with many other varied accounts.
Wallison
Monday, August 4th, 2014 at 20:25:50

Many seen on the beach at Brandon Bay, Co. Kerry today!
Jeff Condell
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 13:59:56

Amazed and awed at seeing these sail fish at La Jolla Shores, La Jolla CA. A man told my daughter and me that he learned about them years ago in an Oceanography class and hasn't seen them ever here. We also saw miniture 1/4 in across silver dollars- again I have never seen in the 30 years I have been going to La Jolla Shores. What a beautiful world we live in- each day brings something new! It was my daughter Jamie's birthday, so it made it another perfect day for us.
patty
Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 19:48:24

Walking today along the shore In Oceanside, Ca. I was seeing A lot of clear Sail Jelly's and saw a few Blue ones also. Pretty cool looking. However they were all up on the shore?
Lisa
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 14:15:57

Thousands washed up on Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Reserve, Vancouver Island BC, August 1st 2014 weekend
Paddy O'Reilly
Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 21:43:26

These were all over the beach late in the day yesterday, September 10, 2014, on Caspar Beach, Mendocino County, California.
Debra De Graw
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 23:25:40

These were all over the beach late in the day yesterday, September 10, 2014, on Caspar Beach, Mendocino County, California.
Debra De Graw
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 23:26:43

I saw a few dozen of these beauties washed up on a small beach in Donegal near Ballybofey at the start of august.There was more blue on the sail and felt quite rubbery to touch. No one on the beach that day had ever seen them before on new anything about them. Now we do CHEERS
Charlie
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 09:59:07

Hundreds of these creatures on Stinson Beach, CA, today Easter Sunday 4 April 2015.
Marc L
Sunday, April 5th, 2015 at 19:49:13

We saw many thousands of these today on the beach in Pacific City OR. Cape Kiwanda where the dory boats launch to be exact. Very pretty blue with clear sails. Also saw a handful of clear ones. Very pretty.
Karen
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 at 22:11:44

Saw many hundreds ashore and afloat in a secluded bay along the lighthouse loop trail near Ucluelet, BC. They are startlingly beautiful...took our breath away! God is such an artist!
Lynne
Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 at 10:53:38

Saw 2 of these on Malibu beach yesterday, I had never seen them anywhere before and was awed by their beauty !
Mike
Monday, April 27th, 2015 at 19:10:56

We saw literally hundreds of these sail jellyfish on the beach in San Simeon, CA today! Thank you for your picture, I took pics of them and was thinking they were some sort of jellyfish so I started looking them up and found your picture and this site. This really helps explain them, thank you! But I was wondering if when they are alive, do they sting like regular jellyfish? The ones we found seemed already dead.
Cray
Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 03:22:54

Just saw loads of these on the beach and floating about in the crystal clear waters of Formentera in Islas Baleares, Mediterranean.
Barney
Friday, June 5th, 2015 at 07:58:02

A wonderful day to everybody. Yesterday we saw also hundreds of them, after low tide at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Indian Ocean.

Seems they are traveling around the world. Not really sure though if the burning on my feet came from them, but I really was not and still isn't a nice feeling. Will try to find out more.

Lydia
Sunday, September 6th, 2015 at 22:07:40

My first sighting of this sail jellyfish - many of them washed up on Tokerau Beach, Northland, New Zealand 9/2/16 - amazing creatures - happy to find your site and identify them :)
barbara
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 at 00:02:07

I was in Malta's sister island , Gozo ,where I saw thousands of this sail jellyfish, washed ashire. First I thought that this was an oil spill ,but on approaching them I found out that these were infact sail jellyfish.
Jesmond
Monday, March 28th, 2016 at 10:07:52

I have been living in ireland for 50 years living and involved in the fish industry ,never have I seen the mini sail fish before on this coast till yesteday of the Mizzen Head
Is this global warming ?
Anybody know were they come from ?
Mel
Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 06:54:14

On Waikanae Beach, opposite Kapiti Island, New Zealand, there were hundreds of dead sail jellyfish washed up after stormy seas yesterday. We often see the Blue Bottle jellyfish on the beach here, but this is the first time I have ever seen these little blue creatures.
Jane
Friday, November 11th, 2016 at 17:49:45


Camera: Nikon D2x
Date: Monday, May 23rd, 2005 at 7:20 AM
Exposure: 1/30 sec at f8.0
ISO: 100 asa
Lens: 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor at 105mm
(equivalent field of view of a 157.5mm lens on a 35mm camera)
Photographer: John Harvey
Region: North America, British Columbia, Canada
Scientific Name: species related to Velella velella (Sail Jellyfish, By-the-wind sailor)
Tag: shallow depth of field, jellyfish, beach, Botanical Beach
Larger image: 1999 x 1331
Raw image: 4296 x 2860

John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Port Renfrew > Sail Jellyfish
John Harvey Photo > Learn Photography > Learn To Photograph Tide Pools > Sail Jellyfish

Leave a Comment

Some HTML allowed: <b>, <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>, but most isn't.  Text length is limited.  Comments from first time authors will be reviewed before being posted. Comments with swearing or painfully poor spelling will probably be rejected.

Last Modified Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 05:21:42. Edit
Copyright and Contact Information.